Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rose-breasted Grosbeak song

A sample recording from today:

Lehigh Gap Naturalists Club field trip

This morning, the Lehigh Gap Naturalists Club went on a field trip to Bake Oven Knob. At the first stop, which was at a farm field, a few members of the group heard singing Eastern Meadowlarks and Horned Larks. We also saw Turkey Vultures, Northern Mockingbird, House Finch, and Rock Pigeon. The second stop was at a spot with grass fields on both sides of the road. Here, the we got great looks at several Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlark. One meadowlark was even carrying food, a behavior that breeding bird atlassers know means confirmed breeding. The third and final stop in the agricultural area was to look at Vesper Sparrow sitting on the wire. The bird flew as soon as the car stopped, but another continued to sing from the vicinity.

The main goal of the field trip was to look for Cerulean Warblers. Ceruleans are small light blue and white wood-warblers that spend most of their time in the tree tops. Bake Oven Road is one of the few remaining places in the Lehigh Valley area that these amazingly beautiful birds can still be found. As the group drove up Bake Oven Road, several American Redstarts were singing, as well as the occasional Indigo Bunting. At the pull-off where the Ceruleans often hang out, a Worm-eating Warbler let out a single dry trill. Using the road as the vantage point, we were able to hear two Ceruleans, but unfortunately we could not see them. We also heard Scarlet Tanager and Red-eyed Vireo at this location.

Bake Oven Knob is known by local birders as a great fall hawkwatching site. Although hawks are not flying this time of year, we decided to go out to the lookout to look for breeding birds and anything else we could find. The walk up to the lookout was quiet, we only heard a few Red-eyed Vireos. From the lookout itself, we could hear birds down below as well as some at the same level as us. Here we heard Black-and-white Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Ovenbird, Cerulean Warbler, and Eastern Wood-Pewee. From the lookout, we saw a single Black Vulture and I saw a Common Raven in the distance.

The birding was good, but the lookout also had its share of insects. Several Eastern Tiger Swallowtails flew by, as well as two Sleepy Duskywings, a Gray Comma, a Spicebush Swallowtail, a Red-spotted Admiral, and two Mourning Cloaks. The Mourning Cloaks were in fresh condition, as they were part of a recent emergence. Recently, the new Mourning Cloaks are mixing in with the batch that hatched in March and April. This time of year, the early emerging Mourning Cloaks are very tattered and dull. On the way out of the lookout, we found a Wood Frog hopping around the boulders.

The trip was a great success! Although we did not see Cerulean Warblers, we got to hear them and got great looks at some grassland birds. Here is the wildlife list from the day:


Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove
Rock Pigeon
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Carolina Wren
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Prairie Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Worm-eating Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow


Silver-spotted Skipper
Wild Indigo Duskywing
Sleepy Duskywing
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtail
Cabbage White
Orange Sulphur
Red-spotted Admiral
Mourning Cloak
Gray Comma
Little Wood-Satyr

Wood Frog


male Bobolink


Eastern Meadowlark:
Eastern Meadowlark carrying food

Sleepy Duskywing:
Sleepy Duskywing

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Butterfly sightings for BAMONA

Indian Skipper:
Indian Skipper

Little Wood-Satyr:
Little Wood-Satyr

Mourning Cloak:
very worn Mourning Cloak

Gray Comma:
Gray Comma

Northern Cloudywing:
Northern Cloudywing

Milbert's Tortoiseshell:
Milbert's Tortoishell

Hobomok Skipper:
Hobomok Skipper

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sound Recordings

As part of a project with the Lehigh Gap Nature Center ( I am going to be recording wildlife sounds. Today I was testing the recorder and recorded Song Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat.

I thought I'd share the recordings:

Song Sparrow:

Common Yellowthroat:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Celastrina chronology

2009 Celastrina Chronology: Kunkletown, Monroe County, Pennsylvania

April 5, 2009:

April 9, 2009

April 9, 2009 (different individual):

The next three are some females that were at the wet area:

April 29, 2009:

April 29, 2009 (different individual):

April 29, 2009 (different individual):

May 2, 2009:

May 2, 2009 (different individual):

May 2, 2009 (different individual):

Between May 12 and May 18, I observed several azures around Black Cherry (Prunus serotina). I was unable to get any photographs.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Red-necked Phalarope

There is a Red-necked Phalarope in the flooded field along Evansville Road in Berks County. The bird was first found yesterday afternoon and continued this morning. The bird is distant, so a scope is helpful for anyone who wishes to chase this bird.

Red-necked Phalarope

Busy time of year!

I have not yet finished a full report from the World Series of Birding yet, but that should be posted within the next week. I just attended the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology meeting, for which I will also post a report soon.

As a result of these birding activities, I have had very little time to bird around the property. This afternoon, after returning home from the PSO meeting, I birded around the yard a bit. Very few birds, although I did find a female Bobolink in the field. I have never seen Bobolinks in my field before, and considering the female's behavior, this bird may be nesting!

Here are some photos from my afternoon birding stroll:

female BOBO:

female Bobolink

female Bobolink

young male American Redstart:

young male American Redstart

Rosy Maple Moth (if identification is wrong, please let me know):

Rosy Maple Moth

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

World Series of Birding--Tropicbirds

This coming Saturday, May 9, is the World Series of Birding, a 24-hour event where birders from around the world congregate in New Jersey. Within the 24-hour time, birders try to find as many species as they can, without leaving the state. In past years, I have competed with the team, but this year, I am part of the American Birding Association/Leica Tropicbirds team. To learn more about my team visit: and to learn about the event:

The teams collect pledges which go towards bird conservation. To sponsor the Tropicbirds, visit

Now I am off to do some scouting!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Butterfly photos

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail:
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Pearl Crescent:
Pearl Crescent

American Lady:
American Lady

Sleepy Duskywing:
Sleepy Duskywing

Celastrina #1:
Celastrina sp.

Celastrina #2:
Celastrina sp.

Celastrina #3:
Celastrina sp.